Harborfields Central School District Logo
On Saturday, Sept. 29, the district held their homecoming parade and
football game — culminating the weeklong celebration of Harborfields
spirit and pride.
Following Friday night’s pep rally, where seniors Eric Werbitsky and
Kate Driver were crowned king and queen, students put the finishing
touches on their floats for the parade Saturday morning. This year’s
theme was “Generations: HF Through the Years”, and just as in years
past, students went above and beyond with their designs. In grade order,
themes included the Prehistoric Age, Medieval Times, Wild West, and
60’s & 70’s.
As the floats traveled from the Harborfields Public Library to the high
school, students waved to the crowds of community members lining the
sidewalks. Many students walked alongside the floats as well, collecting
donations to fund research for childhood cancer, which is near to the
Harborfields community’s heart. For homecoming week, HHS joined the
Greenlawn Civic Association in their “Greenlawn Goes Gold” movement,
which was developed and put into action by sophomore Natalie Pedrazzi.
Along with collecting donations, cancer awareness gold ribbons were
available for purchase, and all proceeds from the awareness week went to
Maggie’s Mission. This local organization supports awareness and funds
pediatric cancer research, and came into existence in honor of Maggie
Schmidt, a Harborfields High School student who lost her battle with
cancer in 2017.
At the homecoming game, the spirit-filled crowd anxiously awaited the
start of the game against Eastport South Manor. Some crowd members had
large cutouts of players’ heads and shook them wildly and cheered when
the team ran out onto the field. The Harborfields cheerleaders, marching
band and kick line all worked together in pepping up the crowd, and
there was no lack of spirit in the stands that day.
At the end of the first quarter, Harborfields held its first ever “Stand
Up 2 Cancer” event, which was initiated by students Catherine Capodanno
and Brooke Semmelmeier. Throughout the week and the morning of the
game, those in attendance were able to purchase signs to write the name
of a loved one battling with cancer. When the moment came, community
members all over the stadium stood up in support, holding their golden
signs high in recognition of loved ones and their immense strength in
The Harborfields Tornadoes competed fiercely against ESM throughout the
game, but unfortunately lost by three points, with the final score being
In an effort to further build a community of inclusion and acceptance,
TJL participated in “Start with Hello” week, beginning on Sept. 24. This
program, created by Sandy Hook Promise, focuses on uniting people of
all beliefs and backgrounds and creating climates of inclusion to
prevent social isolation—and to ultimately protect children from gun
“Awareness weeks such as “Start with Hello” are so important for our
students,” said school Psychologist Michelle Meskin, “because it teaches
them that no member of any community should ever feel isolated, alone
Throughout the week, students were encouraged to make efforts to say
hello to someone new and to perform random acts of kindness.
Additionally, students participated in some ice-breaker activities, such
as “In My Shoes” and “Human Bingo.” Children learned how to realize
when someone is reaching out for help, how to accept differences in
their peers, and more. Students and staff truly gave their hearts to the
weeks’ mission, and had discussions on how to reach beyond “Start With
Hello Week” and to incorporate inclusiveness and acceptance into the
school year, and the following years to come.
“My brother and I have a competition going to see who can say hello to
the most new people each day,” said Emerson, a fourth-grader at Thomas
J. Lahey. “It’s been so much fun, and it’s making so many people happy.”
The district opened its doors for the start of classes on Sept. 5. Each
school was abuzz with excitement for the students’ arrival, and many
teachers and principals waited outside to greet them. Hallways that were
silent all summer came alive with chatter, laughter, and stories.
At Washington Drive, kindergarteners with the entirety of their school
career before them hopped off buses first—some sporting backpacks larger
than their bodies! Assistant Principal Kathryn McNally, along with
other faculty and staff, greeted each one, offering high-fives and
wishing them an incredible first day. Once in the building, they formed
wiggly lines and followed green footprints on the floor to their new
Experienced students confidently traversed the hallways to their
classrooms at both Washington Drive and Thomas J Lahey. Children
unloaded backpacks, stuffed with fresh supplies, and got to know their
classmates through sharing things like their favorite summer memories.
Others participated in activities such as “explore your new classroom”—a
quasi-scavenger hunt to familiarize thems with the details of the room,
such as where the pencil sharpener was, or how many students were in
At Oldfield Middle and Harborfields High School, teachers wasted no time
jumping into the syllabus and reviewing topics with students to
transition them out of summer-mode. Many incoming middle and high
schoolers that needed help navigating the building were guided by
“If you ever need help you can always text me, and I’ll meet you at your
locker,” an upperclassman told a freshman between classes on the first
day. “Don’t worry. You’ve got this.”
Even though school’s out for the summer months, the district was still bustling with activity thanks to Harborfields Community Educational Foundation’s (HACEF) Summer Camp program. This camp, that just wrapped up for the season, offered four-day camp options for elementary and middle school students throughout the summer. Each week offered a plethora of themed programs — from Harry Potter Camp to Wood Crafting to Summertime Science — and this year’s enrollment boasted 850 students, a number that surpassed last year’s previously record-breaking 680.
Most programs were taught by Harborfields teachers and offered fun ways for children to pursue subjects or hobbies that they gravitate to or are curious about. The STEM centered camps — like Coding, Robotics, and Intro to Video Production — were some of the most popular of the summer and provide students with hands-on learning in a different setting.
“In these camps, students learn skills that they will carry with them,” said HACEF Camp creator and coordinator Karin Fey. “And we hope that something they learn here will help ignite the pursuit of a lifetime passion.”